Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer Giveaway Hop 2013 ~ (US)

Thanks Mary from BookHounds and Kathy from I am a Reader, Not a Writer for getting this hop together.

I am going to have two winner for this hop.  I have four books below.  The first name picked will get first choice.  After the first winner has picked, I will notify the second winner and they can pick from the remaining three books.  All four are paperback and in good condition.

Click on the pictures to be taken to the books goodread page to see the book description and reviews.

This contest if for US addresses.  When it's a book from my bookshelf, it's a US contest.  If it's for a new book from the Book Depository, it would be international.  Sorry to all my international friends.  I wish that I had a lot of money and could afford international shipping.

See the terms and conditions in the right sidebar.  All terms are in effect for this giveaway.  Use the rafflecopter form to enter. a Rafflecopter giveaway <!-- end LinkyTools script –>

Book Review ~ "Sworn Enemy" by A.L. Sowards

Sworn EnemySworn Enemy by A.L. Sowards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received from Publisher to Review
Genre: Historical Fiction (WWII with LDS influence)

Book Description: June 1944. As World War II rages, the people of Eastern Europe are hopelessly trapped between two formidable forces: Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union. In their midst, a band of heroes works to defend against the inevitable Communist takeover.

After narrowly escaping her Nazi captors, French Resistance worker Genevieve Olivier has fled to Allied territory with the help of American Lieutenant Peter Eddy. Their connection is undeniable, forged in the crucible of danger. But despite their blossoming feelings for each other, they must both finish the work they began . . .

In the safety of England, Genevieve hopes to find purpose as a nurse—all the while unaware that the Gestapo still seeks the woman who slipped through their grasp. When she is called upon to resume a life of danger as a French spy, will her desire to prove herself be her downfall?

Recruited by an elite special-ops team intent on thwarting the Nazis, Peter finds himself engaged in a personal battle as well—there is a traitor among his comrades. Deep in the Carpathian Mountains, Peter combats an unknown foe. The stakes are high as he fights to save the lives of his teammates.

They are miles apart, yet as Genevieve and Peter fight for their own survival, they find a common well of strength in their faith—and their determination to be reunited.

My thoughts:  Peter and Genevieve have escaped France during WWII. They have a future of promise ahead of them, but a war that is still in progress. There is duty left to fulfill, their new found relationship must wait.

This is a gripping sequel to Espionage. A.L Sowards writes well and tells her story in a way that kept my attention. I loved her characters. Peter and Genevieve I already knew from the first story and was cheering them from the sidelines as they fought their battles. The unit that Peter becomes a part of for the second book are a likable bunch of men for the most part. They each have their own inner battles and pull together (mostly) in a crisis.

The books are researched well and really helped me to grasp the time period and the war. War in itself is tragic. I loved how the author showed that good people on all sides were called to fight. They had a sense of honor for their countries and rose up when called upon. The war veterans have my deep gratitude and respect.

I would recommend reading the first book Espionage before reading this one. It explains the relationship of the characters and why the Nazi's are so interested in Peter and Genevieve.

About A.L. Sowards:   A little mystery, a little history, a little romance, and a lot of action, adventure, and suspense. Primarily, I write to entertain. I also hope my books will teach readers something new about history or about life. My books are usually set during wartime, so there is some violence, but I keep the language and romance family-friendly. My goal is for my writing to be thrilling, clean, and uplifting.

Purchase LINKS:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Blog Tour ~ "Mormon Mama Italian Cookbook" by Shannon M. Smurthwaite

I was excited to try out this cookbook.  In it's title it says "Mormon Mama". Does that mean this cookbook is just for Mormon's?  Not hardly.  What it means is that it has recipes that do not have alcohol or coffee in them.  I tried out a few of the recipes and loved them.  They are simple, but the finished product does not look like it was simple to make.

I made Chicken Tortellini Soup, Italian Quiche, Italian Roast Beef Sandwich, and Mimi's Tomato Soup.  I still want to try Stuffed Mushrooms, Ciabatta Bread, and Truffles Cioccolato!

I took a picture of the Italian Quiche!  I didn't have all the exactly right ingredients, but I was pretty close.  It was yummy.  The quiche is more egg and little milk.  That is different that the quiche recipes I have made before.  It was almost like eating an omelet with a crust!

My attempt at the Italian Quiche!

About Shannon:  Shannon McClary Smurthwaite grew up in Los Angeles, California. The oldest of three daughters, Shannon loved spending time at her Italian grandmother’s side. She attended Cal State Northridge and BYU, studying art and design. She is married to Donald Smurthwaite, and they are the parents of four wonderful children. Shannon’s family happily serves as her official food taste testers and share their mother’s love for cooking and creating in the kitchen. She resides in Meridian, Idaho, and serves as her stake’s Young Women President.

Visit the webpage for the book.

Book Endorsements!

“I couldn’t put this book down. Deliciously simple, cooks of all levels will find this cookbook inspiring. Shannon shares her heart and heritage in this delightful compilation of recipes, proving yet again that when there’s love in the kitchen there is love in the home.”
—Chef Doughty, Host of Public Radio’s nationally syndicated “Food for Thought”
“In my many years as a chef, I have seen a great number of cookbooks come across my desk. . . . As I flipped the pages, I found that I couldn’t put it down. . . . Full of fun family quotes and warm humor, this cookbook has most of . . . the ‘classic’ Italian recipes. Whether it’s Carbonara, Gnocchi, or Focaccia, it’s all in here. This book will be an absolute classic for those who enjoy classical family-style Italian food. The instructions for each recipe are easy to follow and should have your house smelling like grandma’s meatballs in no time. . . . Mangia!
—Chef Dale Tanner, Culinary Arts Program Manage, Platt College–OKC

Where can you purchase a copy?

Read an excerpt from "Karmack" by J.C. Whyte + giveaway!

Everyone knows Curtis "Sully" Sullenburg is the toughest kid at Higgins Elementary. For years, he and his gang have tormented students and teachers alike with their pranks. And for the most part, they’ve gotten away with it. But all that changes when a strange little creature appears on the scene. From that point on, pranks start coming back like boomerangs, smacking Sully's gang right in their fifth grade butts!

Sully is the only one who can see this creature, which he names Karmack. The little guy claims to be a nature spirit whose job is to balance all the bad karma the boys have amassed over the years. Because if Karmack fails, these boys will undoubtedly suffer "dreadful, awful doom". Just like that kid who shot at crows with his BB gun – one day he crashed his bike into a pigeon coop and emerged as the Abominable Snowman of bird poop! That kind of doom.

Sully soon realizes he must save not only himself but his gang from Karmack's doom (though his friends have no idea why their pranks keep boomeranging). Of course, calamity and hilarity follow. But in the end, Sully and the guys learn a valuable lesson about the consequences of being a bully, and what it takes to be a true leader.
The book is aimed at children ages 8 to 12, and is a perfect read-aloud for classrooms.

Read an Excerpt:
Through front yards, backyards, and down the main road, the pursuers continued to chase the squealer into town. Sully, Breeze, and Gonzo (also known as Curtis Sullenburg, Matthew Brezinski, and Carlos Gonzalez) were the toughest dudes in fifth grade. Everyone knew these three were definitely trouble. And the worst was Sully, their leader.

The old Statewide Bank building lay just ahead, on the corner of Main Street and Railroad Avenue. And that was where the squealer ran out of gas.

Sully immediately pinned him to the ground, right there at the corner. Lying in the snow, the squealer looked petrified. Sully laughed and let go of the boy—just knowing he scared the living daylights out of the kid was enough for Sully. But not Gonzo—he dropped his backpack on the left side of the squealer’s face. “That’s for making us chase you,” he said.

Sully let out a loud “Hah!”

Then the boys heard a rumble. It came from above them—from the pitched roof of the bank. Sully looked up in time to see a bundle of snow drop from the roof. It fell downward, toward Gonzo, who was still hovering over the squealer.

“Hey, look out,” Sully shouted, but not in time. Gonzo did look up, just as the pile of snow hit his face. The squealer managed to squirm out of the way and take off down the road. Breeze began to dig out his friend.

But Sully was frozen to his spot, still gazing at the roof of the bank. Because he saw something up there—a small figure no bigger than a two-year-old. And was it… laughing?

Sully knew it couldn’t be a child. Not with that long, fat nose. Definitely not a child.

Was it just his imagination? Or maybe…a reflection…from ice on the roof? After giving his eyes a good rub, Sully changed his view of the roof by walking around the corner. And there—there was that little guy, laughing again! The creature in the funny green outfit saw Sully too. Then came a flash of light as it darted to the other side of the roof, beyond Sully’s vision.

“Breeze…did you…see that?” Sully wanted to know.

“Yeah, Gonzo got dumped on. Lucky break for the squealer.”

“No, I mean…ah, forget it.” Sully knew he’d seen someone. Yet…

Never the shy one, Sully next ran into the bank to question the first teller he saw. “Is some guy up on the roof?”


“You got some guy shoveling snow off the roof? My friend, he got dumped on.”

“Uh, not that I’m aware of.” The female teller turned around and asked the branch manager the same question. Then she returned to Sully. “No one’s on the roof. What’s the problem?”

“I saw…somebody…up there.”

The manager came to the counter. “There’s no one up there, son. Some snow must’ve fallen from the roof. Is your friend all right?”

“Yeah, I guess. But I coulda sworn I saw someone up there.”

The teller smiled. “Probably just glare from the sun. Nice to have some sun today, isn’t it?”

But Sully only shrugged and walked out of the bank.

The guys were waiting for him outside. Gonzo was dusty with snow. And he was cradling the left side of his face. It was red and starting to swell.

“What’s going on?” asked Breeze.

“That’s what I wanna know.” Sully frowned as he committed the creature’s face to his memory. Anyone crossing Sully usually lived to regret it.

That is…until now.


About J.C. Whyte:  Author J.C. Whyte says she discovered a love for writing while in elementary school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Back then of course, she wrote only children’s stories. But as a grownup, she had to face the harsh reality that such writing seldom pays the bills. So she got her degrees in Journalism and Communications, and turned to Public Relations, where for many years she focused her creative energies in feature writing.   

Then after marriage, kids, several more degrees and occupations (including stints as a travel agent and paralegal), J.C. entered law school. While there, she became a columnist for the student newsletter and one of her humorous articles was even published in The National Jurist.

After graduating and passing the Bar, J.C. realized within a few years that creative writing was still what made her heart sing. So now, as a grandma, she’s returned to writing for children. And with the publication of Karmack, J.C. has truly come full circle, back to where her writing journey began. 

Purchase Links:

Muse It Up Publishing * Barnes & Noble * Omnilit * Bookstrand * Amazon

J.C. is offering one person a copy of the book.  It will be in whatever format the winner would like.

Leave a comment.  If your email address is not in your profile, leave that as well.  The contest will close for entries on August 12th.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Check out "The Bargain" by Christine S. Feldman (Excerpt)

Tomboy Shannon Mahoney has always been a lot more comfortable with power tools than high heels or lipstick, and she wishes she could reinvent herself and finally tell her perfect boss, Drew Kingston, she has had a crush on him since high school. But she is just as tongue-tied and awkward around him now as she ever was, and long-familiar patterns are hard things from which to break free…
Ladies’ man Michael is a former bad boy looking for redemption. He is desperate to atone for past mistakes that he made with his family, but younger brother Drew has cut him out of his life and refuses to even speak to him. Which means Michael needs help getting to Drew.
And so he approaches Shannon with a proposition: If she will get Drew to agree to hear him out, Michael will mentor Shannon in how to win his brother’s heart. Suspicious of Michael’s motives, Shannon initially enters into the bargain just to make sure Michael isn’t actually in town to cause trouble for Drew, but the two unlikely allies are surprised to discover they enjoy each other’s company far more than either expected.
Shannon starts to realize that maybe love isn’t about reinventing yourself after all. It’s about finding your perfect match.

Read an Excerpt!

“So, ten years…That would take it all the way back to high school, wouldn’t it?”
She nodded, still very deliberately working on getting just the right amount of ketchup on her fry so she wouldn’t have to look at him.
“Wait—were you and Drew in the same graduating class?”
“Then that would mean…so you and I were actually in school together?”
“For a year, yes.”
He gave her a very thorough once-over as if trying to place her. “You and I—we never hooked up in high school, did we?”
Shannon’s mouth fell open. “No, we certainly did not!”
“So is that why you were really so mad at me the other day?”
“What?” she sputtered hotly. “You are unbelievable!”
“Oh, so we did hook up.”
A slow grin spread across his face, and she realized he was playing with her.
Taking a deep breath, she bit back a name she had been about to call him. “You get a perverse pleasure out of yanking my chain, don’t you?”
“Kind of, yes.”
“Aren’t you afraid I might back out of the deal?”
“No, I think you realize it’s in Drew’s best interest. Besides,” he added with a knowing gleam in his eye, “I think you get a perverse pleasure out of putting me back in my place, so we’re developing a great little symbiotic relationship here. Don’t you agree?”
“What? Oh, I’m sorry. I’m still recovering from the shock of hearing such big words come out of your mouth.”

Michael started to laugh, and Shannon felt a kind of rush go through her…


About Christine:  Christine S. Feldman writes both novels and feature-length screenplays, and she has placed in screenwriting competitions on both coasts.  She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her ballroom-dancing husband and their beagle.  Visit her on Facebook and say hello!

Visit her Website.

I dont' know about you, but I think this sounds like a very cute book to read.  It's one that I really would like to "check out" sometime when my schedule allows.  Christine tells me that there isn't any sex and there's mild swearing, so it fits my reading comfort level well.

Links where you could purchase a copy!

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iTunes

Book Review ~ "Greystone Valley" by Charlie Brooks

Greystone ValleyGreystone Valley by Charlie Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Library Thing Early Reviewers
Genre: Middle Grade/Tween Fantasy

Book Description: Greystone Valley is a land of wizards, dragons, and warriors... and one young girl who ends up there quite by accident when her idle wish is granted.

Sarah discovers that not everything in the valley is as magic as she might’ve wished — especially the nearly illiterate wizard, the mouse-sized dragon, and the warrior who can’t stand the sight of blood. Being hunted isn’t helping, either. Will Sarah survive this new life of hers, or can she make it home?

And, more importantly, will she ever be the same again?

My thoughts:  Sarah escapes reality by imagining adventures and reading her fantasy books. She doesn't want to deal with the fact that her father is gone and it's just her and her mother.

After an explosive encounter with her mother about not going to the psychiatrist anymore, she has a very realistic dream. She finds herself in the midst of a fantasy. She wakes up in a strange bed in a medieval inn. An army awaits the capture of the teen with the spell book. He is a wizard apprentice who is not very talented.  The friends she makes in her journey are a motley crew.  They are the heroes that are not the epic kind, but the good kind to have your back.

They meet a warlord, trolls, dragons, fairies, every possible creature that you would find in a fairy tale. She has the adventure she has always dreamed of, but realizes in the end that there is "no place like home."

This is story is told very well. It's fun for kids of all ages (that includes grown ups).
Purchase Links: 

Amazon * Book Depository * Barnes & Noble

Sunday, July 28, 2013

LDS Music Giveaway (US)

Last summer I was very excited to be invited to LDSBA.  It was the first time they invited bloggers to come.
While I was there, I received a few music CD's which I intended to listen to and write up great reviews of.  As with most things,  they sat on the shelf next to my CD player.  I really hate it when I do that.

I have listened to each of these CD's.  I have little space and wanted to get them to someone who maybe has more space for music CD's than I do.

The CD's are:

Born Brave by Katherine Nelson (country) ~ Received from LDSBA
17 Miracles soundtrack ~ Received for blogging about Ephraim's Rescue
Primary Program by Maurice Dew (rap) ~ Received from Maurice Dew for review
Arise and Shine Forth - EFY 2012 ~ Received from LDSBA

To enter you just need to fill in the info in the rafflecopter form.  You must be 13 or older, if under 18 have parental permission.  This is for US addresses only.  See the giveaway terms and conditions to the right.  They are also embedded in the bottom of the rafflecopter form.

This contest will end on August 11, 2013.
One winner will receive all four CD's.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Amazon Purchase Links:

Arise and Shine Forth *  Born Brave

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Blog Tour ~ "Why Is The Sky Blue?" by Shabana Muhajir


Why Is the Sky Blue? by Shabana Muhajir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre:Children's Picture Book

Book Description: While playing at the beach, two boys begin to wonder why the sky is blue and ask their mother to explain the reason to them. As they are very young, their mother needs to decide how best to explain to her boys. She discusses the phenomenon of the blue sky in a manner that even her six year old can understand. While addressing their initial query, the boys come up with several other related questions, and the mother answers them all with simple facts and drawings. To make it easier and more interesting, she performs a fun experiment with her boys, which shows them why the sky is blue at sunrise and red/orange at sunset. The book is a must have for all those curious kids who are trying to make sense of the world around them, and for all those parents who want to satisfy their curiosity.

My thoughts: Two boys walking on the beach ask their mum a question that all kids ask, "Why is the sky blue?".

I really liked the way this book dealt with childhood curiosity. This mother takes a question and teaches her children. From there, more questions are asked and answers given. The book is written from the perspective of a discussion.

I loved how the mother answered her children and then questioned them to see if they understood. She takes it one step further and shows them a simple experiment, that anyone can do at home, to illustrate her point.

The children's explanations are at a different level. Where the older understood more scientific terminology, the younger got the basics and expressed it back to his mother. Honestly, I learned a few things from the book.

I wish when my kids were younger and still wanted to read a book with me, that I could have used this. It helps lead to discussion and learning moments. I could see some great teaching moments that could occur beyond the pages of the book.

About the Author:  Shabana, a Canadian, spent her early years in various countries and now lives with her husband, two sons in Singapore.
She has a Master’s degree in Education from Newfoundland and a Master’s in Business Administration from Windsor, Canada.
She worked for a telecommunication company in Canada and Singapore for thirteen years as a marketing and business development professional. She’s currently working as a Director at a consulting firm, and serving as the Vice President/room parent co-ordinator of the PTA at her sons’ school.
She loves to read both fiction and non-fiction books. Her kids are also avid readers and love performing experiments and finding out how things work. She conducts weekly experiments with them based on their interest and level of understanding.
It was her boys’ curiosity and endless questions that led her to write her first book, Why is the Sky Blue?  
She plans to write a series of non-fiction books on thought-provoking and interesting topics for children.

Find her at:   Facebook * Webpage * Twitter

Where could you purchase a copy?

To see all of the tour stops, visit this LINK.

Book Review ~ "Junket is Nice" by Dorothy Kunhardt

Junket Is NiceJunket Is Nice by Dorothy Kunhardt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received from publicist for review
Genre: Children's picture book

Book Description:  WHAT IS JUNKET?

Junket is a delicious custard and a lovely dessert.

But why is the old man with a red beard and red slippers eating such an enormous bowl of junket, and what could he possibly be thinking about while he feasts?

That’s a good question! And one that the old man poses to the crowds and crowds of people that gather to watch him. In fact, almost everyone in the whole world wants to know the answer to this riddle.

And only one little boy has the answer.

This ingenious book of inspired nonsense was the very first from Dorothy Kunhardt, whose Pat the Bunny has delighted generations of young children.

My thoughts:  This is a cute book for children. It has a whimsical atmosphere and silliness that kids will like.

A man with a red beard is eating Junket. (I didn't know there was something edible called junket before reading this book.) He is eating from a big read bowl. He keeps eating and eating until the whole world comes to watch him eat.

He asks everyone in the whole world to guess what he is thinking of while he is eating his junket. They come up with some silly answers but is the little boy on the tricycle who finally answers correctly.

The punctuation is a little different. Many sentences are run on, I think that it is to add to the silliness of the book.  You feel like you are running a race reading them.  My kids tried to read them in one breath and just couldn't do it. This book was originally published in 1932. They have stayed true to the original publication when publishing this modern addition.

While reading this book, I could picture a librarian reading it to a group of kids. I could picture the kids laughing and coming up with their own silly guesses.

About Dorothy Kunhard (1901-1979):  Dorothy Kunhardt was the author of over 50 children's book, including the legendary interactive baby book, Pat the Bunny. She was also a historian, writing several books about 19th century America, including a well-known account of the aftermath of Lincoln's assassination.

Purchase Links:

Amazon * Book Depository * Barnes & Noble

Introducing ~ "Eternal Summer - A Collection of Short Stories" by various author's

Eternal Summer - A Collection of Short Stories

Eternal Summer is a collection of eight paranormal short stories. Participating authors include: Olivia Hardin, C.G. Powell, Mandie Stevens, Liz Schulte, Lola James, Tawdra Kandle, Stephanie Nelson and Melissa Lummis.

List of stories

**One Bite Paradise by Olivia Hardin - author of the Bend-Bite-Shift trilogy Jill’s wish gave Doc a new chance at life – literally. Almost a decade of years have passed since Jill watched her lover get killed and now that time is like a chasm between them. Can they learn how to make One Bite of Paradise become an eternity?
**Cat Napped by C.G. Powell - author of the Terra Stellar series Tempers fly, when Sarik makes last minute changes to Jael’s and his vacation plans. How far will he go to get back in her good graces?
**Eternally Yours by Mandie Stevens - author of Eva and Thomas series Eva and Thomas are bound by magic and are getting on each others' nerves. Eva is ready for a vacation, but when someone from Thomas' past is in trouble, her holiday comes second to saving a soul from Hell.
**Dark Remnants by Liz Schulte - author of the Guardian trilogy, the Easy Bake Coven series and the Ella Reynolds series. Ella Reynolds and vacations do not mix—but she is willing to give it a try for Gabriel. However, when she stumbles across the ghost of a young woman who needs her help, all thoughts of fun and relaxation vanish from her mind. Can Ella solve this mystery before her vacation ends or will the spirit be trapped in an infinite loop forever?
**Bound by Fate by Lola James - Author of the Spellbound series Ben thought his trip to New York would be just like any other -- find two random people, nurture their love, and leave before his presence is detected. But when he runs into someone from his past,  business as usual becomes complicated.The worlds of the Spellbound Series and the Fate Trilogy blend in Bound By Fate.
**Stardust on the Sea by Tawdra Kandle - Author of the King series Cathryn Whitmore does not want a vacation, not even in beautiful Cape May. But when she encounters a hot college professor at a bed and breakfast with a ghostly mystery, she just may change her mind.
**Cursed Cove by Stephanie Nelson - Author of the Gwen Sparks and Anna Avery series Gwen and Dorian head to Hawaii, but not for fruity drinks or sunbathing. A string of murders taint what the locals are calling Cursed Cove. Haunted by the infamous Captain Clarke, Gwen and Dorian must figure out how to rid the beach of the demonic ghost before more locals lose their lives.
**Daylight Come by Melissa Lummis - Author of the Love and Light series Some fun in the sun was just what Loti needed, but from the moment she and Wolf arrive at the not- so-quaint hotel, they know something's off about the place. Cockroaches, dirty linens and an unkempt room turn out to be the least of their worries. An evil spirit haunts the beach front resort and it has no intentions of letting them check out until it gets what it wants. Can they solve the mystery before daylight comes?

Purchase at:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Book Review ~ Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon's Fury" by L.R.W. Lee

Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon's Fury (Book One)Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon's Fury by L.R.W. Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received from the author for review
Genre: Middle Grade/Tween Fantasy

Book Description: From the After Life, ten-year-old Andy Smithson’s relatives initiated a curse 500 years ago. Now they no longer agree it should continue and one is willing to sacrifice Andy’s life to end it. Unaware of the disagreement and with no say in the matter, Andy is unexpectedly and magically transported from his home. He finds himself in the Land of Oomaldee, facing mortal danger at every turn as he seeks to find a scale from a rare red dragon, the most ferocious of dragon species, to break the curse and save his life.

My thoughts:  Andy Smithson:Blast of the Dragon's Furyis a wonderful story for kids from middle grade to the tween years to read on their own. It is great for younger children who have an adult who will read it to them.

Andy is a modern boy. He loves to play video games. He has parents who work and don't have time to spend with him. He is expected to do his best in all things without a lot of supervision.

He finds himself pulled into a parallel dimension. Here the King needs help to break a curse that was placed by a vengeful ghost five hundred years ago. Andy is chosen because he is a descendant of the King's father, living outside the land of Oomaldee.

This story has many elements of fantasy. There are dragons, Pegasus, a wizard with a speech impediment, castles, birds that change into men, etc. It is sure to capture the interest and imagination of the reader.

I liked also that Andy is a boy who does his best. He's a good kid with a good heart. He starts to run around with a servant boy who is looked down upon because he is of a different race. He has green hair and that sets him apart from the others of the kingdom. Andy doesn't care. He sees the good in his friends and don't let insults and jeers from insensitive people get to him. I love that example for kids.

This is a cute book. The ending is a cliff hanger.  This will encourage kids to read the next book.  As a mother of a child who doesn't like to read, anything to get him wanting to find out what happens next is great.

Where can you find a copy?

It is 99 cents on Amazon Kindle.  You can press the link above to get there.  

If your local library has the options to request the purchasing of books that they do not have on their shelves, you may want to request that they purchase this one.  That way many kids could read this book. :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Spirit by Shauna Granger ~ Book Blitz ~ Excerpt/giveaway

Release Date: 04/30/13

Summary from Goodreads:
Not even a guardian angel is more powerful than Death.

Always careful to watch out for others, Shayna put too much trust her abilities to keep herself safe and has been cut down by crazed man. Now she is trapped in the land of the dead, watching as her two best friends suffer the consequences of her death; their powers are fading and soon they will too. Shayna is desperate to return to the land of the living to save them from a similar, cold fate. To save her friends Shayna must turn away from the Light and, in doing so, sacrifice her wings.

But the longer Shayna stays among the dead, the further she slips from sanity. If Shayna cannot find her way back she will be condemned and lost forever among the restless souls of the dead. With nothing left to lose, she will do whatever it takes to fight her way back, with or without her wings.

Available from:
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png  photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg  photo 111AD205-AA04-4F9E-A0F4-C1264C4E9F30-1855-000001A1E8CEB6D7_zps9b730b94.jpg  photo B1426D4C-9EEC-4C0B-A1FB-90524B03C0CA-1855-000001A1E82B3B3E_zps17d98f4d.jpg  photo KoboIcon_zps515cdc1a.jpg

Excerpt #1:
More than two hundred homes and two thousand square acres were destroyed in the fire. Two people were severely burned, but they survived. Amazingly, no one died. At least, that’s what the papers reported. They never found my body, and they looked for days. I know; I watched them search for me. I had always said I wanted to be cremated when I died, asking to have my ashes scattered at the roots of an old tree, but being burned alive was not what I had in mind.

My parents held my memorial outdoors, on the beach. Search and rescue told my parents it was too soon to be completely conclusive about my whereabouts, but after seeing the site where Jodi and Steven said I’d died, my parents came to the hard decision that I was, more than likely, gone.
A pack of surfers I had known since childhood paddled out to sea, each bearing a flower wreath. Once they were past the last break of waves, they cast the flowers into the ocean, letting the ebb and flow of Earth and sea take them. The beach was covered in black from mourners milling around, huddled against the winter bite in the breeze.

Deb had brought her entire coven to show their respects. Little Trisity clung to Deb’s hand while tears streamed down her face, her aura a pale gray obscuring her sweet face. Deb lifted her up and held her on her hip, letting Trisity cry into her shoulder as she made her way to my parents. Half the senior class had turned out in a wash of black, white, and gray; even a few teachers were in attendance. I had no idea so many people had known me. A huge, obnoxious picture of me stood on an easel, flowers littering the ground around it. Beside it, my surfboard stood, jammed in the sand.

Jodi and Steven received just as many hugs and whispered condolences as my parents. Their faces were dry of tears. Jodi looked hard and determined, as though an idea had taken root in her mind and she was unaware of her surroundings, whereas Steven looked distant, the fire in his eyes banked to cold embers. They accepted the hugs and nodded at the words, but otherwise they weren’t truly present. I felt Jodi’s uncontrolled magic, the sudden gusts of wind whipping her signature around, making the mourners cling to their coats and inch closer to each other.

Jensen was there, wrapped in a black peacoat and wearing a grey beanie pulled low over his ears. His hands were jammed into his coat pockets, and his tiny mother was next to him, her arm linked through the crook of Jensen’s elbow. I traced the line of his profile with my eyes, remembering the heat of his full, red lips and the sharp lines of his cheekbones under my fingers. An ache blossomed in my chest as I waited for him to turn toward me, let me see the stormy ocean of his eyes, but he never did.

I stood alone on the rocks, watching from a distance. I found when I came too close to those who had loved me in life, I stole what little peace they’d carved out for themselves. Any calm or happiness they had found would seep away, the color of their aura draining to gray. I was a wraith, bound to the shadows, trying to find my way home.

I had spent my time in the Ether, somewhere between the living and the dead, hiding and running from that which would take me from this plane. I’d seen the bright Light, the tunnel, felt the inexplicable compulsion drawing me toward it. I felt the peace it offered. It felt like home. And I turned away from it.

It was strange, watching those people, so close to them but totally apart. Even at this distance, I saw Death’s next victims. Everyone was marked for death, but the closer they came to it, the darker the mark grew over their bodies. It was a cancer that made the soul rip away from the body. I saw lung cancer creeping up on my English teacher. In another year’s time, he would know about his diminishing chances of beating it. One of Deb’s sisters stood with the shadow of Death looming over her shoulder, ready to snatch her away in a few weeks when she stepped off that curb just fifteen seconds too soon because she was digging through her purse with her phone braced between her cheek and shoulder. I was so close and yet so far away. I couldn’t warn them though the words screamed in my mind. I felt the phantom weight of my wings on my back, but I knew they weren’t there. When I died and turned away from the Light, they were ripped violently away from me.

Thankfully, when I looked at my parents they were crystal clear, no shadow looming over them. In time, the grey of their auras would clear and resonate in the rainbow spectrum as they should. But when I looked at Jodi and Steven I saw the merest whisper of a shadow. It blurred against their gray auras, but when they moved I saw it and panic nearly strangled me. But what could I do?
I turned to Jodi and watched her face, seeing the peaches and cream complexion drained to pale anger. My fingers twitched with the desire to wave to her, get her attention, make her see me even though I knew it was futile. Steven had turned his back on the congregation, looking out to the sea that usually terrified him, but today nothing scared him, nothing moved him. I sighed even though I no longer breathed, and when I pulled my gaze off of the back of Steven’s head, remembering how soft the curl of his hair felt under my fingers, I looked into Jodi’s eyes.
For one heart stopping moment, she stared right back at me.

Her pale blue eyes didn’t blink, the line of her mouth pressed hard and angry. I started to open my mouth to call out to her, but before I could, I heard the crunch of rocks behind me, making me break our eye contact. I spun around and saw the angel terrifyingly close to me.

“Shayna,” he whispered, his voice carried on Jodi’s wind, gusting now in frantic confusion.
“No!” I yelled, jumping from the rocks. I took off running, faster than I ever could in life. I prayed for my wings, willed them into existence, but the pain never came and my back remained whole and unmarred. I heard the thunder clap behind me, reverberating as his wings erupted just before he took flight, chasing me.

Fear ripped through me, threatening to trip me up. I felt the Heavens opening behind me, the warm light pressing against my back, growing warmer the closer the angel’s outstretched hand got to me. I closed my eyes and drew in the shadows of the rocks around me, turned on the spot, and let my body fall. The shadows wrapped around me and pulled me through the cosmos just as the tips of the angel’s fingers touched my sweater.

Rest of the books in the Elemental series:
(link to Goodreads)

About the Author
Like so many other writers, Shauna grew up as an avid reader, but it was in high school that she realized she wanted to be a writer. Five years ago, Shauna started work on her Elemental Series. She released the first installment, Earth, on May 1, 2011 and has since released four sequels, with the series coming to an end with Spirit. She is currently hard at work on a new Urban Fantasy series, staring a spunky witch with a smush-faced cat named Artemis.

Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png

1 – Signed Paperback of winner’s choice of books 1-5 in the Elemental series. (US only)
1 – e-book of winner’s choice of books 1-5 in the Elemental series. (INT)
a Rafflecopter giveaway